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Full text of "My Country And My People"

38       MY COUNTRY AND MY PEOPLE

mystery of this enigma of social continuity against the havoc
of civilization. Sung Chiang, Li Kuei and the host of robust
robbers on the top of Liangshanpo, although coming almost
fifteen centuries after Confucius, do not suggest to us represen-
tatives of an outworn civilization, but rather happy children
of a people in the twilight of a dawning culture, when security
of life was yet unknown. It seems as if the race, instead of
reaching full maturity with Confucius, was really enjoying a
prolonged childhood.

This brings us to the extremely interesting question of the
racial constitution of the Chinese race: whether, as an ethno-
logical entity, it reveals not so much the characteristics of an
old people as those of a people in many respects still in its
racial youth and far from reaching racial maturity. A distinc-
tion may be made by saying that the Chinese are culturally old
but racially young, a theory which has found support among
some of the modern anthropologists. Griffith Taylor1  thus
classifies the Chinese among the youngest strata in the evolution
of the human race, according to his migration-zone scheme.
Havelock Ellis also characterizes the Asiatics as being racially
infantile, in the sense of retaining some of the adaptability,
flexibility and pristine all-round shunp'o nature of childhood
before reaching specialized development.   Perhaps  "a pro-
longed childhood" is the better term, for infantilism and
arrested development or stagnation are misleading terms.

Cultural stagnation of the Chinese is only a misconception
of one looking at China from the outside, without knowledge of
her inner life. One needs only to think of the late development
of the Chinese porcelain, which did not come, as many
foreigners imagine, from the time of Confucius, but from as late
as the tenth century, and was then only slowly developed until
it reached its perfection under K'anghsi and Ch'ienlung in the
seventeenth century, almost before our eyes. Progress in
lacquer, printing, and painting was slow, but each dynasty
brought it a step forward.2 The renowned Chinese style of
painting did not come into being until the last thousand years

1 Environment and Race, Oxford University Press, 1927.

2 See the enlightening article by V. K. Ting:  "How China Acquired Her
Civilization," in A Chinese Symposium (published by the Institute of Pacific
Relations),